'Shocking' surge in animal experiments

EXPERIMENTS on animals have increased in Scotland by 17 per cent over the past year, figures released by an animal rights charity have revealed.

Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, described the surge as "shocking" and said the majority of tests were carried out without anaesthesia.

Latest figures show 579,905 experiments were carried out in Scotland last year, an increase of 85,321 from 2009.

Ms Thew said: "There are strong ethical and scientific objections to animal experimentation.

"There is a large range of non-animal research techniques that, as well as being a humane approach to science, can also be cheaper, quicker and more effective.

Willie Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, who obtained the figures from a parliamentary question, said: "The crucial point to take from these figures is that the Tory-led government promised a ban on testing for chemical and household products, but failed to deliver on these assurances."

Patrick Harvie, Green Party MSP, who has campaigned on animal welfare issues, said the Scottish Government should provide funding to allow academics and industry to find alternatives to animal testing.

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